Fair Work grants interim suspension to PIA

30-09-2016 –

The Fair Work Commission has granted an interim order of suspension to all protected industrial action (PIA) after an application from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

The order takes effect at 9 pm tonight (30 September) and applies to all Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection—including the Australian Border Force—who have been undertaking PIA.

All staff are expected to return to normal rostered duty from that time so business as usual operations can resume.

The suspension order will remain in effect while the Fair Work Commission considers the matter. A hearing has been scheduled for 5 October 2016. Further orders will be made at or after that time.

The decision to seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission to secure a suspension of PIA was taken today after much deliberation. This decision was not taken lightly.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Man arrested for internal importation of cocaine at Melbourne Airport

29-09-2016 –

A 52-year-old British man was arrested at Melbourne International Airport on Friday, 16 September 2016, for attempting to import approximately 280 grams of cocaine.

It will be alleged he swallowed 39 separate pellets which contained the cocaine.

The man arrived in Melbourne on a flight from Los Angeles and was selected for further examination by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

Following an examination which revealed the presence of the pellets, the ABF referred the man to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who transported him to hospital for further examination. The examination confirmed the man was carrying a number of pellets internally.

A total of 39 pellets containing approximately 280 grams of cocaine were recovered, and he was subsequently charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). He appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 21 September 2016, and was remanded to appear again on Wednesday, 14 December 2016.

ABF Regional Commander, James Watson, said ABF officers were experts at identifying a range of concealment methods.

“We have sophisticated technology which will detect those who try to smuggle drugs internally,” Commander Watson said.

“The individual has put his own life at risk through this highly dangerous method of attempting to smuggle narcotics.

“Even though the man has survived this dangerous method of importation, he now faces very serious charges which could result in penalties of up to 25 years in jail.”

AFP Commander Paul Osborne, Manager Crime Operations, said the AFP and its partners would continue to work closely to disrupt drug importation attempts.

“It is disappointing to continue to see the extent to which individuals will go to import drugs in to Australia,” Commander Osborne said.

“Not only are they putting their own lives at risk, they are endangering the lives of others with the product they are looking to sell.”

Media enquiries:

Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244
AFP Media (02) 6131 6333

Apprehension of foreign fishing vessel in Australian Waters

23-09-2016 –

In a major hit to illegal fishing in Australian waters, Maritime Border Command (MBC) within the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) have apprehended a Papua New Guinea (PNG) fishing vessel fishing illegally on Thursday 22 September 2016.

The Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Byron boarded the PNG registered fishing vessel about 2.7nm inside the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone (AEEZ), west of Thursday Island.

The vessel was initially identified by HMAS Adelaide on Monday 19 September and was seen crossing into the AEEZ by an MBC surveillance aircraft on Thursday.

Officers from ADV Cape Byron boarded the vessel and located 500 kilograms of fresh fish and about 9 tons of fish in freezer compartments.

The 29 people on board the fishing vessel were detained and will be brought to Australia for further investigation by AFMA.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Peter Laver praised the joint efforts of Maritime Border Command and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and said the apprehensions highlight the capability of both agencies.

“Australia’s maritime domain exceeds 10 million square kilometres, but no matter where these boats are, MBC and AFMA officers will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Australia’s waters remain free from illegal fishing,” Rear Admiral Laver said.

“We maintain continuous watch and response capability within the AEEZ to deter where possible, but intercept and apprehend illegal foreign vessels who attempt to conduct illegal activity in Australian waters.”

AFMA’s General Manager Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, agreed saying the continued joint efforts of MBC and AFMA ensures Australia’s marine resources are protected from poachers and remain healthy.

“Australia’s well managed Commonwealth fisheries are tempting for foreign fishing vessels. It is the continued cooperation between AFMA and MBC that ensures poachers will be caught,”

“Those attempting to steal from our marine environments should be on notice – they will be caught.”

This apprehension comes a day after 16 foreign fishermen from Vietnam were convicted of illegally fishing within Australian waters. Each fisherman received suspended sentences and their vessel was confiscated by AFMA and destroyed.

More information on how Australia is working to combat illegal fishing can be found at afma.gov.au.

Media enquiries: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Geelong man charged with the importation of firearm magazines

23-09-2016 –

A 30-year-old Geelong man has been charged with nine offences relating to the alleged importation and possession of prohibited items including firearm magazines, knives and a ballistic vest.

The man was arrested on 13 July, after the Australian Border Force (ABF) conducted an investigation which led to the execution of a Customs Act search warrant on the man’s Norlane residence, with the support of Victoria Police.

During the warrant activity, investigating officers found a variety of ammunition of varying calibre, a ballistic vest and knives, knuckle dusters and other weapons.

Following an initial hearing in Geelong in September, the man will appear again before the Geelong Magistrate’s Court on 23 December 2016 charged with:

  • two counts of importing prohibited imports in contravention of Section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901; and
  • seven counts of possessing prohibited imports, in contravention of Section 233(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1901.

ABF Acting Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Craig Palmer, said that the ABF is committed to protecting the community from dangerous prohibited goods.

“The safety of our community is a priority for the Australian Border Force and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure this safety is maintained,” Acting Commander Palmer said.

If convicted, the man faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

ABF cancels licence of company linked to undeclared cigarettes

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has cancelled the licence of a NSW company linked to the movement of 832,000 undeclared cigarettes.

The company, QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd, was licensed under s77G of the Customs Act 1901 to hold goods subject to Customs control at its depot in Mascot, NSW.

It had been operating for just nine weeks before ABF officers executed search warrants on Wednesday 10 August at four Sydney residential addresses in Bass Hill, Roselands and Chipping Norton. A further two search warrants were executed at the depot and a licensed customs broker in Botany.

The warrants were in relation to an ongoing ABF investigation into the movement of cigarettes subject to Customs control without authority and without the payment of the substantial duty and GST that was due.

The ABF alleges that QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd was involved in the movement of the 832,000 undeclared cigarettes, which were being held under Customs control at another licenced s77G depot, in order to deliberately defraud the revenue.

During the warrants, ABF officers served the director of QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd with a Notice of Intended Cancellation and Suspension of the Customs Depot Licence pursuant to s 77V of the Customs Act 1901. This meant the depot licence was immediately suspended with full cancellation taking effect on Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd’s access to the Integrated Cargo System, which supports the movement and reporting of goods across the Australian border, has also been revoked.

The investigation resulted from an ABF air cargo examination team detection and a broader ABF intelligence informed operation focussed on identifying, targeting and investigating criminality within the cargo supply chain.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244


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Man arrested for importing drugs purchased via the dark net

21-09-2016 –

A 31-year-old man from Port Neill was arrested yesterday after an Australian Border Force (ABF) and South Australia Police (SAPOL) investigation linked him to the importation and distribution of numerous border controlled drugs via the dark net.

The man was arrested after ABF and SAPOL officers executed several search warrants at residential properties in Adelaide and the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia.

During the warrants, ABF officers and SAPOL members seized 910 doses of an amphetamine type substance, 380 LSD doses and 72 capsules and 15 grams of MDMA. A number of other powders and liquids, which the ABF will allege were to be used in the manufacture of illicit drugs, were also seized.

The man has been charged with importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, an offence contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwth).

SAPOL will charge the man with 14 counts of trafficking in a controlled drug contrary to section 32 of the Controlled Substances Act.

ABF Acting Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Craig Palmer, said the arrest showed that Australia’s law enforcement authorities are working together to target illicit drug importation from dark net websites.

“We are well aware of these websites and take any attempts to import illegal border controlled drugs very seriously,” Acting Commander Palmer said.

“Working with our partner agencies, we will continue to target those people who think they can illegally purchase and import illicit goods online.”

Superintendent Andrew Thiele, Eyre and Western Local Service Area, said people should not think they are immune from police detection if they participate in criminal activities such as drug trafficking and live in a remote location. Police will continue to target those people who live in regional areas and cause harm to the community through drug dealing.

The man arrested today could face a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $900,000.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244